Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The Rain it Raineth Every Day...

I think that's a line from Twelfth Night, and it's pretty appropriate for this week, as it's raining every day and driving me mad. The whole point of the clocks going forward is that Mr O should be able to ride after work now, but it's been absolutely pouring, making riding impossible (or at least, slightly insane).
I've got a little confession to make: You know I use my mobile phone as my alarm clock? Well having put every single other clock in the house forward one hour, I completely forgot to do my phone. I woke up yesterday morning before it went off, though, and thought, 'There's something not quite right here. It's taking ages for my alarm to go off.' I looked at the time on Mr O's clock/radio and it said 7.50 rather than 6.50. Oops! I am amazed the horses were so quiet actually, they must have wondered what was going on. I leapt out of bed, fell into the nearest clothes and went outside to dish out breakfast. Barnaby didn't seem too amused.
I had all six horses to do, as Missis was away, so got all the work done, including bringing Polo and Lindy in if it rains (which of course, it did). Then, as I went out to feed at 4pm, Missis suddenly appeared in the stable doorway. My first thought was that she'd managed to fly to Dublin and back in a day. It turns out she was so ill she couldn't get out of bed, and staggered out at tea time to come and tell me. She looked dreadful, I have to say. Poor woman.
She did muck out this morning, though, and it looks as though I'm in the clear until after Easter, which is wonderful.
I have ridden Max this morning, and it was very peculiar. It's almost as if I've lost my link with him. He was quite spooky going down to the school, and wouldn't really work in there at all. I managed about twenty minutes before calling it a day, and walked back home with him. I considered getting on, but he was in such a funny mood, I decided it wasn't worth it.
You may know that horses in England all have a passport, which belongs to the horse's owner, but if you sell the horse the passport must go with him. On Monday evening we had an official 'handing over of the passport' ceremony, so I am now Barnaby's official owner. I have tremendous butterflies over this, like when I bought my first horse, Penny. I used to sit in my office feeling sick, thinking, 'I own a horse!' all day, and getting very little work done.
I should have ridden Barnaby this afternoon really, but as Missis and I were getting ready, it started snowing, and Mr O came home and said it wasn't really worth it. Why on earth is it snowing at the end of March?
The plan was to do some showing this weekend, me taking Max and Mr O taking The Bard, but as the horses have been out in rugs with no neck cover of late, imagine my joy at discovering half of Max's mane is missing. Somebody has chewed it off. Marvellous. Now obviously I don't want to accuse any other horse, but I think the clue may lay here:

How can I tell one of my horses off for chewing one of my other horses? Honestly, I thought they liked each other. Max's mane is his crowning glory. I don't see how I'm really going to show him successfully without it. But if the weather's going to be total pants, I don't see the point of showing horses anyway. I'm not standing in the snow or rain freezing to death just to get a rosette. There is a dog show on the same day. Poor Tessa, how am I going to tell her she won't be 'Prettiest Bitch' now?

Roxy, lead chicken, has been chipping paint off the walls of the stables with her beak. We have also had a few eggs with a very thin shell, and one with no shell at all, just the membrane. I have been reading the book 'Hens In The Garden, Eggs In The Kitchen' by Charlotte Popescu that Missis' mum got me for Christmas, and it's very interesting. It says if you have a chalky soil chickens will naturally pick up enough calcium, which they need to form strong egg shells. Our soil is totally clay, and they're obviously not getting much calcium at all. We need to provide calcium from something like cockle shells. I wondered where on earth we get something like that from. We bought a bag of grit, and as I've opened it, it's full of little bits of shell, which is brilliant. I have scattered some about, and they didn't look too pleased, but since then we've seen them going to the opened sack and helping themselves, so they obviously want it. Hopefully this will lead to stronger shells.

Henny Penny has gone broody already. She did this last year. She has taken to sitting in the nesting box all afternoon. I had to go in and feel about underneath her to retrieve the eggs she was sitting on. They were hot to the touch. I felt like getting in underneath her myself.

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